Tag:Charlie Morton
Posted on: February 20, 2012 12:29 pm
 

Burnett joins Pirates, creates competition



A.J. BurnettBy C. Trent Rosecrans


The Pittsburgh Pirates rarely cause a stir in the national media -- but plenty of people were in Bradenton on Monday to see newest Pirates A.J. Burnett throw his first side session of the spring.

Burnett, officially traded from the Yankees to the Pirates on Sunday, reported to Pirates camp on Monday. To make room for Burnett, the Pirates placed Rule 5 selection Gustavo Nunez on the 60-day disabled list with a right ankle injury.

According to Rob Biertempfel of the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review, about a dozen reporters spoke to Burnett before the start of Monday's workout. While that number pales in comparison to the media horde that follows the Yankees, it's a pretty sizable scrum for the Pirates.

"It's going to be a fresh start," Burnett said, according to Biertempfel. "It's going to be fun. I'm back in the National League where I can hit and bunt and get the joy back into the game."

Burnett, 35, said he learned from his three seasons with the Yankees -- "one thing I can take from my time in New York is I'll never back down from anything."

With Burnett in camp, the Pirates have six starters for five spots in the rotation. Burnett and fellow new Pirate Erik Bedard will certainly make the rotation. Also involved in the rotation battle are Charlie Morton, James McDonald, Kevin Correia and Jeff Karstens. The team also has Brad Lincoln, as well as non-roster invitees Jo-Jo Reyes and Daniel Cabrera.

"One of the signs of a club getting better is when your decisions get tougher as you move forward," manager Clint Hurdle told reporters (again, via Biertemfel at the Tribune-Review). "We're going to put people on the mound, let them pitch, and it will all shape itself up."

McDonald and Morton are likely to be in the rotation with the new guys, while Correia and Karstens may be battling it out for the last spot.

Correia was an All-Star last season, but the 31-year-old right-hander made the team on the strength of his 11 wins in the first-half of the season and despite a 4.01 ERA. He was 1-4 with a 7.23 ERA in the second half of the season.

Karstens, 29, was 9-9 with a 3.38 ERA last season.

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Posted on: February 8, 2012 12:20 pm
Edited on: February 8, 2012 2:00 pm
 

Oswalt, Jackson turned down Pirates' offers

PNC Park

Edwin JacksonBy C. Trent Rosecrans


Remember when the Pirates were accused of hoarding their money and not trying to spend any money to get better?

Well, now they're willing  to pay -- but nobody wants their money.

Well, that's a little extreme. I'd take it, you'd take it. But neither Roy Oswalt nor Edwin Jackson would take it. Both players turned down, despite offers as much as $10 million, Rob Biertempfel of the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review reports.

Jackson, who took a one-year, $10 million from the Nationals last week, was offered deals for both one and three years, with the three-year deal being "slightly less" per year than the one-year deal.

Roy OswaltOswalt on the other hand, is still unsigned, but turned down the Pirates.

The Pirates' opening-day payroll is expected to be around $48 million -- the lowest in the National League Central.

Pittsburgh led the NL Central -- which send two teams to the playoffs and is home to the World Series champs -- as late July 25, but finished fourth with a record of 72-90, for its 19th consecutive losing season.

One of the reasons the Pirates faltered late was its starting pitching, which stumbled down the stretch. Pirates starters were 35-28 with a 3.62 ERA in the first half of the season and 14-33 with a 5.04 in the second half.

Pittsburgh added lefty Erik Bedard as a free-agent, but his injury history makes him tough to count on for a full season. With Charlie Morton's availability for the start of the season in doubt, Bedard may be the team's opening-day starter. James McDonald, Kevin Correia and Jeff Karstens likely round out the rotation.

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Posted on: December 2, 2011 3:39 pm
Edited on: December 2, 2011 5:10 pm
 

Homegrown Team: Atlanta Braves

Elvis Andrus

By C. Trent Rosecrans


What if players were only permitted to stay with the team that originally made them a professional? No trades, no Rule-5 Draft, no minor or major league free agency ... once you are a professional baseball player, you stay in that organization. This series shows how all 30 teams would look. We give you: Homegrown teams. To view the schedule/past entries of this feature, click here.

The Braves have seemingly always believed in developing talent from within and occasionally supplementing from the outside. It's a formula that's worked for many years and has become a blueprint for most of baseball. However, that doesn't mean they don't make mistakes from time to time, and if you're a Braves fan, you probably already rue the date July 31, 2007, already. On that day, the Braves sent Elvis Andrus, Neftali Feliz, Matt Harrison, Jarrod Saltalamacchia and Beau Jones to the Rangers for Mark Teixeira and Ron Mahay. The Rangers have been to two World Series since the trade and the Braves none.  

Lineup

1. Elvis Andrus, SS
2. Martin Prado, LF
3. Brian McCann, C
4. Chipper Jones, 3B
5. Jeff Francoeur, RF
6. Freddie Freeman, 1B
7. Jason Heyward, CF
8. Kelly Johnson, 2B

Starting Rotation

1. Adam Wainwright
2. Tommy Hanson
3. Brandon Beachy
4. Matt Harrison
5. Mike Minor

Bullpen

Closer - Craig Kimbrel
Set up - Neftali Feliz, Jonny Venters, Matt Belisle, Julio Teheran, Charlie Morton
Long - Bruce Chen

Notable Bench Players

Adam LaRoche, Mark DeRosa, Rafael Furcal, Yunel Escobar, Wilson Betemit, Andruw Jones, Jordan Schafer, Tyler Flowers, Brayan Pena and Garrett Jones give this team an acceptable backup at every spot on the diamond and more. 

What's Good?

The depth is incredible -- in the pitching staff and the position players. Even if Wainwright weren't available because of his injury, the team has Chen, Morton or the rookie Teheran to step in, or they could move Feliz to the rotation without even having to look anywhere else for its closer.

What's Not?

Heyward is playing out of position in center -- it was between him and Francoeur, so I went with Heyward. Other than that? Well, Wainwright might still have been injured and the rotation is young, but talented.

Comparison to real 2011

There's no chance this team would have missed the playoffs, like their real-life counterparts did. The rotation is solid (even without Wainwright) and would have given first-year manager Fredi Gonzalez more innings, meaning he may not have run Kimbrel and Venters into the ground. The lineup has enough punch to aid that goal. Does this team win the World Series? Maybe. The rotation isn't a postseason killer -- yet, but there's certainly potential.

Next: Toronto Blue Jays

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Posted on: November 1, 2011 5:40 pm
Edited on: November 1, 2011 10:20 pm
 

Team-by-team NL free agency outlooks



By C. Trent Rosecrans

With open free agency set to hit us at 12:01 a.m. Thursday, it's worth taking a quick look at what every single team is going to be looking for. We've already done detailed breakdowns in the R.I.P. series, so here are some quick hitters for the National League:

East
Atlanta Braves | R.I.P.
Needs: shortstop, corner outfielder, relief pitching
Money to spend?: Not much. The Braves' biggest need was getting rid of Derrek Lowe, and they did that and have saved $5 million to boot. The team has good, young starters, but put too many innings on their bullpen. They'll need more bullpen arms and also a bat in left field and a shortstop. With Tyler Pastronicky just about ready, the team could use a veteran backup just in case he doesn't work out.

Miami Marlins | R.I.P.
Needs: starting pitching, center field
Money to spend? Oh yeah… with the team preparing to move into a new stadium, owner Jeffrey Loria is expected to make a splash in free agency and could raise payroll to the $100 million range. South Florida will be a favorite of baseball agents in the offseason who will use the Marlins as leverage -- they may even be more popular than the "mystery team" of the past off seasons. The Marlins will be rumored as a possible landing point for nearly every big free agent. The question is, which ones -- if any -- will actually take their talents to South Beach.

New York Mets | R.I.P.
Needs: starting pitching, closer, relief pitching, middle infield
Money to spend? There are plenty of questions about the Mets ownership group, so nobody outside GM Sandy Alderson really knows what's going on and how much money he has to play with. It doesn't look like the team will go crazy in trying to re-sign Jose Reyes. The team will instead hope to improve its bullpen and rotation.

More Free Agency
Position rankings

Philadelphia Phillies | R.I.P.
Needs: shortstop, corner outfielder, closer, relief pitching, first base
Money to spend? It seems like they always find it when they need it, so there's no real concern about the budget. Even with Roy Oswalt likely to leave Philadelphia, there are few worries about the team's rotation. The bullpen, however, will need to be addressed. Ryan Madson may be re-signed and used as the closer, but the Phillies need middle-innings guys, as well. Left field is still an issue and the team could look to upgrade there, but will also need to address first base while Ryan Howard recovers from his Achilles injury. John Mayberry Jr. can play first, but moving him there creates a spot in the outfield.

Washington Nationals | R.I.P.
Needs: center field, starting pitching, relief pitching
Money to spend? Oh yeah. Like the Marlins, the Nationals have money to spend and unlike the Marlins, they have shown a willingness to actually use it. Last year the team overspent on Jayson Werth, something that certainly caught the eyes of free-agents-to-be. Several top names will certainly be courted by the Nationals, including Albert Pujols, Prince Fielder and C.J. Wilson. The Nationals really can't be counted out on anyone.

Central
Chicago Cubs | R.I.P.
Needs: first base, third base, closer, relief pitching, right field
Money to spend? The Ricketts opened the pocketbooks for their general manager, so it's unlikely they'll close 'em for players. Epstein says he wants to build a team from the bottom up, but that takes time and there will be pressure to win right away, and free agency will be part of that. Expect the Cubs to at least talk to the likes of Pujols and Fielder, even if they don't sign them. With Epstein in the fold, it'll certainly be interesting to see what route the Cubs take.

Cincinnati Reds | R.I.P.
Needs: closer, relief pitcher, corner outfielder, shortstop
Money to spend? Not much. It looks like the team will stand pat in the rotation, but after not picking up the option on Francisco Cordero, Cincinnati will need someone to finish out games. Last year Walt Jocketty stayed quiet during the offseason, but this winter that may not happen. However, the team is more likely to use the trade market than spend big in free agency.

Houston Astros | R.I.P.
Needs: shortstop, relief pitching
Money to spend? The Astros are in full-on rebuilding mode, as evidenced by their July fire sale. There's also the holdup of the sale of the team and the possible switch to the American League. If Jim Crane is approved by MLB, he may want to find his own general manager. The Astros won't be much of a player in the free agent market, looking for low-priced.

Milwaukee Brewers | R.I.P.
Needs: first baseman, shortstop, third baseman, relief pitching
Money to spend? Some -- for the right people. The team will try to make a pitch to retain Fielder and possibly Jerry Hairston Jr., but are likely celebrating to be free of Yuniesky Betancourt. The team probably won't be in the race for Reyes or even Jimmy Rollins, but could be in the market for a second-tier shortstop like Clint Barmes. They'll also need to add some arms in the bullpen, but could try to re-sign the likes of Takashi Saito and LaTroy Hawkins.

Pittsburgh Pirates | R.I.P.
Needs: catcher, first base, shortstop, corner outfielder, starting pitching
Money to spend? Yes, as much as $25 million or even a little more, but they also have plenty of holes. The Pirates took some steps forward in 2011, but will need to fill out their roster and will likely be going for the second-tier players to fill out a lineup around Andrew McCutchen, Neil Walker, Jeff Karstens, Kevin Correia, Charlie Morton and James McDonald.

St. Louis Cardinals | R.I.P.
Needs: First base, shortstop, relief pitching
Money to spend? Some for the right player. The Cardinals have nearly $60 million tied up for 2012 in six players -- Matt Holliday, Kyle Lohse, Lance Berkman, Chris Carpenter, Adam Wainwright and Jake Westbrook. There's also the little matter of Pujols -- who will listen to offers from the Cardinals, but is unlikely to give much (or any) of a hometown discount. The team also needs a shortstop and could use another left-handed reliever.

West
Arizona Diamondbacks | R.I.P.
Needs: second base, middle infield, relief pitching
Money to spend? There's not much tinkering expected of a team that surprised everyone by winning the NL West in 2011 -- the rotation is looking good and most of the positions are already manned. The team declined its option on second baseman Aaron Hill, but could also look at former Diamondback second baseman Kelly Johnson. The bullpen was radically rebuilt last season, but could use some tweaking.

Colorado Rockies | R.I.P.
Needs: starting pitching, second base, third base
Money to spend? The team needs a starter and also two infield spots -- all without spending much money. They could be looking to trade to find their infielders and a lefty reliever. But they also need a pitcher that can throw 200 innings in a season, but those don't come cheap on the open market. They'd also like a right-handed bat.

Los Angeles Dodgers | R.I.P.
Needs:catcher, second base, third base, starting pitching, relief pitching
Money to spend? Who knows? With the Frank McCourt mess, nobody knows what the future holds for the Dodgers. If they are sold, the timing may still be off for any big additions to the budget. In a perfect world, the Dodgers are looking at the big names like Fielder, Reyes and Wilson, but it doesn't seem like that will happen.

San Diego Padres | R.I.P.
Needs: closer, relief pitching, corner outfield, middle infield
Money to spend? The Padres have money to spend and spots to fill -- but don't expect them to be wooing the big names. Big money in San Diego is still small money to the likes of the Phillies and Cubs. The highest-priced free agent likely to sign with San Diego is closer Heath Bell.

San Francisco Giants | R.I.P.
Needs: shortstop, corner outfielder
Money to spend? The Giants will spend for the right player, and Reyes may just be that player. Or Rollins. The team may also try to retain Carlos Beltran, but at his age and injury history, the Giants are unlikely to gamble with a multiyear contract.

For more baseball news, rumors and analysis, follow @eyeonbaseball on Twitter or subscribe to the RSS feed.

Posted on: August 9, 2011 2:08 am
Edited on: August 9, 2011 2:11 am
 

3 Up, 3 Down: Mighty Casey (Kotchman)

Casey Kotchman

By C. Trent Rosecrans

Casey Kotchman, Rays: Kotchman recently qualified for the batting title and is now second in the American League with a .341 average behind Boston's Adrian Gonzalez. But he's not here because of his two singles (though his seventh-inning single tied the game at 1), it's because of his final plate appearance of the 2-1 victory over the Royals -- leading off the ninth inning with a walk-off homer, his seventh of the season, second in the last two days and third in the last six games.

Shane Victorino, Phillies: It's a good thing for the Phillies that Shane Victorino appealed his suspension. Because of the appeal, Victorino was able to play Monday night against the Dodgers and he made the most of his opportunity, doubling twice and adding a solo homer in the ninth inning of the Phillies' 5-3 victory. He scored three times against the team that drafted him in 1999 but allowed him to be drafted twice in the Rule 5 draft -- first by San Diego in 2002 and then against in 2004 by the Phillies.

Charlie Morton, Pirates: Morton threw eight shutout innings, allowing six hits and three walks, while striking out four as the Pirates snapped their 10-game losing streak with a 5-0 victory over the Giants


Daniel Hudson, Diamondbacks: Just a half-game out of first place going into the series against baseball's worst team, Hudson may have been feeling a little too confident before Monday's outing against Houston. The Diamondbacks' right-hander allowed five first-inning runs and two more in the second, falling to 11-8. In his shortest outing of the season, Hudson lasted just three innings, allowing seven runs (four earned) on 11 hits.

Heath Bell, Padres: The All-Star closer came into the game in the ninth with a two-run lead. All-Star closers are supposed to close those types of games, especially against a team so beat up by injures as the Mets. But Bell allowed four singles in the ninth inning to the Mets' Jason Pridie, Justin Turner, David Wright and Lucas Duda to score three runs and give the Mets a 9-8 victory.

Josh Bell, Orioles: Baltimore's third baseman was charged with an error in the sixth inning of the Orioles' game against the White Sox, but it was a play he should have made that didn't get ruled an error that he really regretted. With a runner on second and two outs in the eighth inning, Bell had a shot at Alex Rios' smash but the ball went under his glove and into left field, allowing the eventual winning run to score in Chicago's 7-6 victory.

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Posted on: August 8, 2011 5:29 pm
 

On Deck: Wakefield aiming for 200

OD

By C. Trent Rosecrans


Follow all games live with CBSSports.com's GameTracker.

Tim WakefieldGoing for 200:
Boston's Tim Wakefield will take his third chance at winning his 200th game of his career. The 45-year-old knuckleballer has pitched well in his last two starts, but wasn't able to pick up the win. He gave up three runs to both the White Sox on July 29 and to the Indians on Aug. 3, going a combined 13 2/3 innings and 11 strikeouts with just four walks. Baker's looking to bounce back from a three-inning outing against the Angels on Aug. 3. He gave up five hits and four runs (three earned), throwing 77 pitches in the outing. Red Sox at Twins, 7:10 p.m. ET


Perfect timing:
If you're a team just a half-game out of first place, there are few things that can make you happier than seeing a four-game series against the Astros coming up on the schedule. Arizona is 5-5 over its last 10 games but is still just a half-game out in the National League West thanks to San Francisco's recent struggles. The Astros are 40 games under .500. Daniel Hudson starts for the Diamondbacks opposite Houston's best pitcher, Wandy Rodriguez, in the series opener tonight. Watch for Arizona's Justin Upton who is putting up MVP numbers. Upton is hitting .366/.418/..831 with seven homers and 22 RBI over his last 18 games and has a homer in his five plate appearances against Rodriguez. Astros at Diamondbacks, 9:40 p.m. ET

Ryan VogelsongThis one goes to 11?: Pittsburgh has an uphill climb in San Francisco if it wants to stop its 10-game losing streak. While the Pirates will miss Tim Lincecum in the three-game series, they have to face former Pirate Ryan Vogelsong, who is 9-1 with a 2.19 ERA. While Vogelsong's ERA is slightly higher at AT&T Park, batters aren't hitting him as well at home, putting up a .228/.290/.312 line. He's allowed just three homers in his 11 home starts. Pittsburgh's Charlie Morton got the Pirates' losing streak started in Philadelphia by allowing eight runs in four innings. He threw seven shutout innings in his last start, but the Pirates lost a 1-0 game to the Cubs. Pirates at Giants, 10:15 p.m. ET

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Posted on: July 30, 2011 1:53 am
 

3 Up, 3 Down: Renteria stings old team



By C. Trent Rosecrans

Edgar Renteria, Reds: The reigning World Series MVP stuck it to his old team with an RBI single in the 13th inning, ending Cincinnati's four-game losing skid. Renteria hasn't been very good this year -- hitting .238/.305/.298 -- but he came up big against Giants closer Brian Wilson, lining a single down the right-field line to score Jay Bruce from second for a 4-3 Reds win. It was his second walk-off RBI of the year in extras and he's now 5 for 9 in extra innings. A little extra praise here for Reds reliever Jose Arredondo, who not only picked up the victory, but also singled off Wilson in his first big-league plate appearance after the Reds had run out of position players.

Jeremy Guthrie, Orioles: With several teams scouting Baltimore's right-hander, the 32-year-old impressed, holding the Yankees to just four hits and one run in seven innings. The Cardinals, Tigers, Brewers, Rangers and Red Sox have all expressed interest in Guthrie, who lowered his ERA from 4.33 to 4.18 and improved his record to 5-14.

A.J. Pierzynski, White Sox: In a washing machine, the red socks will overpower the white ones -- but recently it's been the other way around on the baseball field. Pierzynski's two-run homer in the seventh inning led to Chicago's seventh straight victory over Boston and its 14th win in the last 16 battles of the Sox. Both teams managed just three hits, but Pierzynski made his lone hit count, homering off of Tim Wakefield to break a 1-1 tie in the seventh to deny Wakefield his 200th career victory.


Hitting streaks: Florida's Emilio Bonifacio and Boston's Dustin Pedroia both went 0 for 4 on Friday, ending a 26-game hitting streak for Bonifacio and a 25-game hitting streak for Pedroia. Both of their teams also lost while managing just three hits -- the Marlins 5-0 in Atlanta and the Red Sox 3-1 to the White Sox.

Charlie Morton, Pirates: Much has been made of the similarities between Morton and Roy Halladay -- their motions do look awfully similar. But on Friday, the results couldn't be more different. Morton allowed eight runs on nine hits in four innings, while Halladay allowed just a single hit over seven innings in Philadelphia's 10-3 victory over the Pirates.

Carlos Carrasco, Indians: After giving up his third homer of the game -- a fourth-inning grand slam by Melky Cabrera (that Cabrera admired for way too long) -- the Indians right-hander threw at the head of Royals DH Billy Butler, who had homered in the first. Carrasco was immediately ejected by home plate umpire Scott Barry. Butler was restrained by Indians catcher Lou Marson and both dugouts and benches cleared. Not to be outdone, Carrasco yelled back at Royals players as he exited the field. Carrasco took his ninth loss of the season and allowed seven runs on seven hits in 3 1/3 innings. Butler added his second homer later in the game.

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Posted on: June 21, 2011 1:28 am
Edited on: June 21, 2011 1:31 am
 

3 Up, 3 Down: Hudson pitches, hits way to victory

Hudson

By Evan Brunell

3 UpTim Hudson, Braves -- Tim Hudson was brilliant Monday in his second-best outing of the season, blanking the Blue Jays for eight innings and allowing just three baserunners on two hits and a walk. He punched out eight. Two of those baserunners came in the ninth inning, but closer Craig Kimbrel whiffed the heart of the Jays' order to finish the game off. But Hudson wasn't done. He also provided the margin of victory, taking Ricky Romero deep in the seventh inning for a two-run home run, which was the final score of the game. "It's hard to say there's anything better," Hudson told the Associated Press. "Obviously, you [nearly] throw a shutout and hit a homer, you win the game. It was fun, man, It was a lot of fun."

Clayton Kershaw, Dodgers -- Kershaw did what Hudson couldn't, slamming the door for nine innings against the Tigers, punching out 11 and walking just one, allowing two hits. Kershaw tossed 112 pitches, 73 for strikes in utterly baffling the Tigers, who appeared to have no idea what to do. The strong lefty is one of the few pitchers in the game classified as a True Ace. Kershaw now boasts of a 3.01 ERA on the season in 107 2/3 innings, but can be even better. His ERAs in the two seasons previous were 2.91 and 2.79. Oh, and Kershaw also stroked a two-run single in the eighth.

Starlin Castro, Cubs -- The Cubs finally got on the board in the third inning after the White Sox staked a 3-0 lead on a two-run single by Starlin Castro, plating Geovany Soto and Kosuke Fukudome. Castro came up in the sixth and ripped a 392-footer to left field to tie the game at three-all. Carlos Pena would follow later in the sixth with a three-run shot. That's a 2-for-4 night for Castro with a run scored, a home run and three RBI. He also swiped base, his ninth of the season. It's becoming increasingly obvious that the 21-year-old is going to be a superstar.


3 DownPadres bullpen -- Wade LeBlanc lasted just three innings, giving up three runs. But Cory Luebke, going into the seventh, had tossed three shutout innings to keep things honest in a game that had just been tied up in the top of the sixth inning. But in the bottom seventh, Luebke, Ernesto Frieri and Evan Scribner all imploded in a meltdown of the best bullpen in baseball. Luebke started the inning by walking Jacoby Ellsbury and seeing him erased at second base on a fielder's choice. Adrian Gonzalez tormented his former team by doubling in Dustin Pedroia, and that was it for Luebke. But Frieri would come in to get just one out, allow no hits and give up four runs. He did so by immediately inducing Kevin Youkilis into a flyout, then intentionally walking David Ortiz. J.D. Drew then walked to the load the bases, and then promptly hit two straight batters. Evan Scribner came in to continue the hilarity, giving up a pinch-hit, 2-run RBI single by Josh Reddick, with another single by Ellsbury loading the bases again. A walk, two-run single and bases-clearing double finished up the 10-run inning for the Red Sox, who were retired when Pat Neshek got Big Papi swinging.

Charlie Morton, Pirates -- That's the sound of regression. Morton is backsliding, giving up six earned runs in his third straight poor start to spike his ERA to 3.77, still a quality mark and more in line with what Morton has done this season. Imitating Roy Halladay's windup has allowed Morton to induce a ton of groundballs but at the expense of striking anyone out, and not being stingy enough with walks. Morton is still a far better pitcher than he was, especially the debacle he resembled last season, but this loss dropped him to 7-4 and the Pirates to two games under .500.

Jeff Mathis, Angels -- And the worst hitting performance goes to Jeff Mathis, who punched out three times in four hitless at-bats against the Marlins. Jered Weaver and Anibal Sanchez had a great duel, with the Angels winning the battle of the bullpens for a 2-1 final. Jack McKeon's triumphant return, replete with smoking a cigar on the bench, had a rain delay precede the loss. Mathis, meanwhile, sinks to .191/.229/.282 on the year. When does his failings at the plate outweigh his defense, skipper Mike Scioscia?

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The views expressed in this blog are solely those of the author and do not reflect the views of CBS Sports or CBSSports.com